Alaska Flies on Gevo’s Renewable Alcohol to Jet Fuel

Biofuel-powered flights demonstrate new, scalable aviation fuel alternative

Seattle, June 7, 2016: The skies became a little greener today after two Alaska Airlines jets departed the Emerald City (Seattle) fueled by the first alcohol-to-jet fuel (ATJ) made from sustainable U.S. corn. The two Alaska Airlines flights departed today with Gevo, Inc.  fuel and flew from Seattle to San Francisco International Airport and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

“Alaska is committed to doing its part to reduce its carbon emissions. Advancing the use of alternative jet fuels is a key part of our emission reduction strategy,” said Joseph Sprague, Alaska Airlines’ senior vice president of communications and external relations. “Gevo’s jet fuel product is an important step forward, in that it has the potential to be scalable and cost effective, without sacrificing performance.”
While the 1,500 gallons of biofuel used on these flights have a minimal impact to Alaska Airlines’ overall greenhouse gas emissions, if the airline were able to replace 20 percent of its entire fuel supply at Sea-Tac Airport, it would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 142,000 metric tons of CO2. This is equivalent to taking approximately 30,000 passenger vehicles off the road for one year.

Alaska estimates the 20 percent biofuel blend it is using for the two flights will reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by an estimated 50 percent. The demonstration flights mark the first biofuel produced from a new feedstock to be certified and approved by ASTM International, the industry’s fuel standards association, since 2011. Additionally, today’s flights are a successful step toward the production of new fuels that will help airlines to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Gevo’s production process converts bio-based isobutanol into an alcohol-to-jet synthetic paraffinic kerosene (ATJ-SPK) fuel.

When compared to other fuel options, Gevo believes that its renewable ATJ has the potential to offer benefits to operating cost, capital cost, feedstock availability and scalability, and will translate across geographies.
“Flying a commercial flight with our ATJ made from renewable resources has been a vision of ours for many years, and it has taken many years of work to get this far,” said Gevo CEO Pat Gruber. “We believe our technology has the potential to be the lowest cost, renewable carbon-based jet fuel, given the efficiency of our technology. We look forward to moving forward with Alaska, and others in the airline industry, to make renewable jet fuel widely successful as a product that substitutes for fossil fuels, and ultimately helps to reduce carbon emissions.”

Renewable fuel

The renewable fuel is made from sustainable corn grown and harvested by farmers who incorporate sustainable best practices from seed to harvest, including David Kolsrud of The Funding Farm. Using advanced farming techniques to maximize corn production and minimize the use of water, fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, Kolsrud began low carbon farming at his farm in Brandon, South Dakota in 2010. “I grow non-edible field corn and sell it to Gevo, which separates the nutritional protein portion of the corn for animal feed and then converts the starch from the kernel to isobutanol, which is then converted to jet fuel,” said Kolsrud. “This practice is a game-changer for traditional farmers like me, as this allows us to extend the use of our crop and create new jobs that frankly didn’t exist six years ago.”

Alaska Airlines has been a leader in seeking more sustainable fuels and these flights are part of the company’s long-term commitment to its sustainability strategy. The Seattle-based company was the first U.S. airline to fly multiple commercial passenger flights using a biofuel from used cooking oil. The carrier flew 75 flights between Seattle and Washington, D.C. and Seattle and Portland in November 2011.

Additionally, Alaska Airlines is teaming up with the Washington State University-led Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA) to advance the production and use of alternative jet fuel made from forest residuals, the tree limbs and branches that remain after a forest harvest. In the coming months, Alaska will fly a demonstration flight using 1,000 gallons of Gevo’s ATJ being produced by the NARA team and its many partners.

Alaska

Alaska has set an ambitious goal of using sustainable aviation biofuel on all flights at one or more of its primary airports by 2020. In a step toward meeting this milestone, Alaska is collaborating with Boeing and the Port of Seattle on a Biofuel Infrastructure Feasibility Study for Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Read more about Alaska’s sustainability efforts at alaskaair.com/sustainability.

Source: Alaska Airlines

Biofuel Use for All Sea-Tac Flights to Reduce Carbon Emissions

Port of Seattle partners with Alaska Airlines and Boeing on plan to supply sustainable aviation biofuel

Seattle, December 16, 2015: The Port of Seattle, Alaska Airlines and Boeing are partnering to move toward a significant environmental goal: powering all flights by all airlines at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport with sustainable aviation biofuel. Sea-Tac is the first U.S. airport to lay out a long-term roadmap to incorporate aviation biofuel into its infrastructure in a cost-effective, efficient manner.

At the Sea-Tac fuel farm today, executives for the port, Alaska Airlines, and Boeing signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to launch a $250,000 Biofuel Infrastructure Feasibility Study that will assess costs and infrastructure necessary to deliver a blend of aviation biofuel and conventional jet fuel to aircraft at Sea-Tac, a crucial step toward routine biofuel use in the future.

“As leaders in aviation biofuels, this will send a signal to airlines and biofuel producers that Sea-Tac Airport will be ready to integrate commercial-scale use of aviation biofuels,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner John Creighton. “Biofuel infrastructure will make Sea-Tac Airport an attractive option for any airline committing to use biofuel, and will assist in attracting biofuel producers to the region as part of a longer-term market development strategy.”

The partners’ longer-term plan is to incorporate significant quantities of biofuel into Sea-Tac’s fuel infrastructure, which is used by all 26 airlines and more than 380,000 flights annually at the airport. Sea-Tac is the 13th busiest airport in the U.S. and will serve over 42 million domestic and international passengers this year.

Joe Sprague, senior vice president of communications and external relations for Alaska Airlines, Sea-Tac’s largest carrier and leader of the airport’s fueling consortium, said the airline wants to incorporate biofuel into flight operations at one or more of its hubs by 2020, with Sea-Tac as a first choice for the Seattle-based airline.

“Biofuel offers the greatest way to further reduce our emissions,” said Sprague. “This study is a critical step in advancing our environmental goals and stimulating aviation biofuel production in the Pacific Northwest.”

The Port of Seattle will manage the $250,000 study as the biofuel roadmapping process and, as Sea-Tac Airport’s governing authority, would handle the engineering and integration of biofuel infrastructure on Port property such as the airport’s fuel farm. An Request for Proposal (RFP) for the infrastructure study will be issued in the spring of 2016, and the study is expected to be completed by late 2016.  Currently, aviation biofuels are not produced in Washington state and must be imported by truck, rail or barge.

Boeing, which partners globally to develop and commercialize sustainable aviation biofuel, is providing expertise about approaches to develop a regional biofuel supply chain to serve the airport, including fuel types, fuel producers, processing technologies and integration with airplanes.

“Sustainable aviation biofuel will play a critical role in reducing aviation’s carbon emissions over the long term,” said Sheila Remes, Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice president of Strategy. “Boeing, Washington state’s largest employer, is proud to work with our customer Alaska Airlines and the Port of Seattle to power every plane at Sea-Tac with a biofuel blend and lead the way for other airports to do the same.”

Approved “drop-in” aviation biofuel is blended directly with regular petroleum-based jet fuel and used in airplanes without any changes to the aircraft or engines. Using sustainably produced biofuel reduces lifecycle carbon dioxide (CO2)emissions by 50 to 80 percent compared to conventional petroleum fuel, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Since 2011, when biofuel was approved for commercial aviation, airlines have conducted more than 2,000 passenger flights with a blend of biofuel and conventional petroleum jet fuel.

The Port’s Century Agenda Goal is to reduce aircraft-related carbon emissions at Sea-Tac Airport by 25% by 2037.  The key strategy to reduce these emissions is through aviation biofuel. Historically, the Port has been a leader in supporting research and development of aviation biofuels, and as models of other international airports and airlines using biofuel emerge, Sea-Tac is also developing a market-support role.

In the past five years, Alaska Airlines has become a leader in the pursuit of finding a sustainable supply of biofuels. In 2011, Alaska was the first airline to fly multiple flights using a 20 percent blend of sustainable aviation biofuel made from used cooking oil and waste animal fat.

In the next year, Alaska will partner with Gevo, Inc. to fly the first ever commercial flight on alcohol-to-jet fuel. In addition, as a partner in the Washington State University-led Northwest Advanced Renewable Alliance (NARA), Alaska plans to fly a demonstration flight next year using a new aviation biofuel made from forest-industry waste.  Fuel for both demonstration flights must first be independently certified.

As part of Boeing’s commitment to protect the environment and support long-term sustainable growth for commercial aviation, the company partners globally with airlines, governments, research institutions, fuel companies and others to develop sustainable aviation biofuel. Boeing has active biofuel projects in the U.S., Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Europe, Japan, the Middle East, South Africa and Southeast Asia.

Foto:Biofuel Use for All Sea-Tac Flights

Foto:Biofuel Use for All Sea-Tac Flights

About Seattle-Tacoma International Airport: Operated by the Port of Seattle, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA, KSEA) is ranked as the 13th busiest U.S. airport, serving nearly 37.5 million passengers and more than 327,000 metric tons of air cargo in 2014. With a regional economic impact of more than $16.3 billion in business revenue, Sea-Tac generates 171,796 jobs (109,924 direct jobs) representing over $2.8 billion in direct earnings and more than $565 million in state and local taxes.  Twenty-five airlines serve 87 non-stop domestic and 21 international destinations.

More information: www.boeing.com/environment

Additional materials, including infographic and fact sheets, can be downloaded here: http://bit.ly/1I935an

Source: Boeing